Thai Airways has announced changes to various earn and burn rates in the Royal Orchard Plus programs. The changes are set to come in effect from October 1 – so they have given plenty of notice.
Overall, the changes significantly impact premium class travel – both on the earn and burn side. While there is a lift in earn rates in Business and First, there is also a significant increase in the points required for redemptions in Business and First.
As a result, if most of your points are derived by flying in Economy – you are going to need to do more of it to get a Business or First award flight.
New Earn Rates
The new earn rate table shows some increases if you are flying in the premium cabins. In economy, the earn rates remain largely unchanged – although there is a small increase if you are on the full fare economy tickets.
The following table shows the changes in earn rates that will be coming into effect from October.
|Class of Service
01 October 2019 Onwards
|Royal First Class
|Royal Silk Class
|M, H, Q
|T, K, S
The minimum miles concept will remain in place for Thai operated flights. You will continue to earn 500 minimum miles on all THAI operated flights.
If you are flying THAI Smile flights, as a Platinum or Gold members, the minimum earn is 500 miles. If you hold a Silver and Basic membership, you will earn a minimum of 200 miles.
If you hold any type of elite status, you will earn a status bonus from October 1. To be fair though, they are pretty small bonus amounts.
|Tier Status Bonus Miles
|Additional Percentage of Flown Miles
( Effective from 01 October 2019 Onwards)
The changes to the redemption charts are more involved. Thai have moved to a more region based chart, rather than the distance zones of the current chart.
For example, at present Bangkok – Perth is in a different zone than Bangkok – Melbourne, based on the difference in distance. Under the new award structure, Australia will be a single zone. As a result, it will be the same number of points to fly between Bangkok and any Australia city served by Thai.
At present, a return Business award between Perth and Bangkok comes in at 75,000 points. In the case of the other Australian cities, a return Business award will set you back 98,000 miles.
As from October 1, the same round trips will require 130,000 miles (or 65,000 one way).
That is for flights to and from Thailand. There are also changes coming to travel on travel connecting through Thailand. This would occur, for example, if you want to travel from Australia to Europe.
A one way redemption between Australia and Europe will now be 175,000 miles in Business. This compares to the current case, where it is 118,000 miles, or 175,000 for a return journey. So quite an increase.
Similar increases can be seen for other long hail travel – such as between Australia and the US.
The upgrade awards table has also had a makeover. Again, the table has been adjusted to be region based, rather than distance based.
This is where things also start to look a bit odd. An upgrade from Economy to Business between Australia and Bangkok will set you back 58,500 points from Y,B or M economy class, and 67,500 if you are upgrading from H or Q class.
These numbers look high, considering an outright business award ticket is 65,000 points.
Thai have published details of the changes on their website.
If you have a Royal Orchard account, it is definitely worth perusing the site to see how the changes may affect you. There may be some quite significant increases in points requirements.